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RenewableUK 2010: Wave Hub plugged in and ready

The Wave Hub wave energy socket has been plugged in and is now open for business.

Wave Hub is a test site for wave energy technology, acting as a giant grid-connected socket for wave energy devices on the seabed 16 km off the coast of Cornwall in South West England.

The complete system has now undergone its first full test as it was connected to the grid network via a new substation that has been built at Hayle, where Wave Hub’s 33 kV cable comes ashore.

Wave Hub’s general manager Guy Lavender, said at RenewableUK 2010: “We’ve been continually testing the integrity of the whole system during the installation process but yesterday [2 November] was the first time it was fully energised and plugged in to the grid, and I’m delighted to say that it went without a hitch.

“From today the system will be permanently energised and monitored, so Wave Hub is well and truly open for business.”

The 25 km cable is buried under the seabed to around 5 km and then been covered with 91,000 tonnes of rock.

Next week a marker buoy will be installed to record Wave Hub’s position, and that will be the final part of the physical installation.

The £42 million Wave Hub project has been developed by the South West RDA (Regional Development Agency).

Lavender added: “There has been some speculation about Wave Hub's future given that the South West RDA is due to be abolished by March 2012. But the future of Wave Hub and its ongoing operation are not in doubt, and the project is fully funded as we continue to seek commercial customers.

“What we don't yet know is who will own the asset when the RDA is gone, and that is being discussed. But that has no impact on Wave Hub's continued role as a vital facility for the development of the wave energy industry in the UK and overseas.”

Wave Hub’s first customer will be Ocean Power Technologies, using its PowerBuoy wave energy converter.

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Wave and tidal energy